Thursday, April 23, 2009 By Maryam
April 26, 2009
Stephen Hirtenstein, MA
We all know that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all in the same family of Abrahamic faiths and share many sacred figures. Many Christians do not realize that in Islamic mysticism the figures of Mary and Jesus are venerated as archetypes of purity and sainthood. In these two half-day workshops, which will include meditation, the contemplation of particular themes, PowerPoint presentations and group discussions of specially translated texts, we will look at how this link between the two faiths offers common ground for fruitful ecumenical dialogue, and explore the meaning and relevance of saintliness in the present day. These two programs will show us how exploring each others’ mystical traditions can help us see our own faith with new eyes.
The Mystical Islamic View of Mary
Stories about Mary in the Quran and in the Sufi tradition mention her as “chosen above all other women,” and seem to point to her as the embodiment ofa cosmic principle of wisdom and compassion that also exists inside us (the “Mary within”). We will look at the tradition of female saints in Sufism and at the larger archetype of the feminine aspect of Divine Wisdom (Sophia).
The Christ Within in Ibn ’Arabi and Rumi
In this session, we will focus on a few specially translated texts from the writings of the great 13th century Sufi masters Ibn ’Arabi and Rumi that elucidate these extraordinary mystics’ understanding of such esoteric concepts as the virgin birth and the presence of an “inner Christ” who can come alive in all of us.